by Teresa Bell Kindred

My mother was a sixth grade teacher and every year for Christmas she
would come home from school with at least three or four bottles of very
smelly perfume. Usually there would be some homemade cookies or candy
and occasionally an ornament for her tree. No matter what her student's
gave her she always considered them treasures.
For the last several years of her life my grandmother went to the same
little store in town and bought tee shirts for my uncle and his family
for Christmas. The tee shirts were always exactly the same; solid
colors, with no design on the front or back. She always had their names
printed on the back in two inch white block letters. Then she wrapped
them in recycled Christmas paper that she'd been saving since
Eisenhower was president and mailed them to my uncle's home in

When it was no longer safe for grandma to drive, the tee shirts became
my project. She'd give me the money and tell me what colors she wanted,
and then she would remind me to have the names printed on the back. I'd
bring the shirts home and she'd wrap them in recycled paper. Then she'd
give me more money and instruct me to mail them in plenty of time to
get there by the twenty-fifth.
I loved my grandma dearly and I didn't mind doing errands for her, but
after a few years of sending the same thing I started to wonder if my
uncle and his family couldn't remember who they were unless they had
their names on their shirt.

A friend of mine said her grandfather had always given her and her
older sister the same gift every, year too; only instead of tee shirts
she always received a box of chocolate covered cherries. "Every year we
got the same thing. To tell you the truth, I never was really that
crazy about candy, but the Christmas after Grand-dad died, I can't tell
you how much I missed those chocolate covered cherries."
It doesn't matter whether the gift is very smelly perfume, a tee shirt,
or a box of chocolates because it doesn't matter what we give nearly as
much as why we give. Love can make a small thing seem big. It can make
an inexpensive thing seem priceless.
When something is given with love it becomes the best kind of gift ...
a gift of the heart.

  If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full
  measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and
  running over. Whatever measure you use in giving -- large or small
  -- it will be used to measure what is given back to you."
(Luke 6:38 NLT)


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